Clueless Bears, Houston Has a Problem, and Other NFL Draft Thoughts

I watched NFL Draft coverage from its start on Saturday morning until my eyes finally glazed over after the Bears' second pick in the second round about seven hours later. After all of that "work," here's my synopsis of the event:

1) WTF, Bears?! – If you read my NFL Draft preview on Friday, you know that I'm not surprised that the Bears traded out of the first round on Saturday. However, there's nothing quite like watching the NFL Draft for four hours in anticipation of your team making a pick, getting excited because the top-rated and fastest wide receiver in the draft in Chad Jackson is unexepctedly there for the taking at the #26 spot, seeing the Buffalo Bills all of the sudden go up on the clock signaling that the Bears traded their first round pick, and then having to go online to find out exactly what happened since that blowhard Chris Berman and his ESPN crew didn't bother to explain the details of the trade (instead, Boomer chose to yap about how Bryant Young's uniform was hanging behind Steve Young, who was doing a live remote from the 49ers lockeroom, where Boomer then spent ten minutes about how it looked like Steve had his own jersey ready for a comeback attempt and blah blah blah blah redrum redrum).

Even better is waiting until the second round and seeing Sinorice Moss, another speedy wide receiver, fall into the Bears' lap in the second round yet watching Chicago take Danieal Manning, a defensive back from Abilene Christian (I won't knock Division 1-AA schools as a general principle only because Jackson State blessed the world with Walter Payton, but let's just say I was confused here considering we just signed a cornerback in Ricky Manning Jr. The only way this could possibly work is if Manning can play safety in order to spot oft-injured Mike Brown). The Bears then used their next pick in the second round to grab Devin Hester, another cornerback, who really will be used as a kick returner. That's fine, but I question this move when Hester's Miami teammate Moss could have been grabbed earlier which would have shored up both our kick returning and wide receiver needs in one swoop. Add in the fact that we subsequently failed to draft a tight end and I've got to tell you that I'm not impressed with the Bears' draft.

2) Mario "Sam Bowie" Williams – It's not Mario Williams' fault that he was the first pick in this year's NFL Draft. I wouldn't expect him to tell the Texans that they made what could turn out to be the most boneheaded mistake in NFL history by picking him over Reggie Bush when he's being offered the richest rookie contract ever. I'm sure Mario Williams will become an upper-tier defensive player. However, unless Williams at the very least becomes the Reggie White of his generation, Houston's decision to pass on Bush is going to be the football equivalent of the Portland Trailblazers taking Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan. I don't know if I've ever seen more of a sure thing to hit it big at the pro level than Reggie Bush in my lifetime, so the Texans either have the cajones of a bull or are recklessly endangering their franchise. Early returns point to the latter.

3) Jets Fans Have Some Brains – I was fully expecting the largest cascade of boos in the history of the NFL Draft (and that's saying something) when it was apparent that the Jets were going to be taking an offensive lineman over Hollywood heartthrob quarterback Matt Leinart. The average Jets fan would boo his own son being picked if he didn't believe that the move fit into the team's schemes. However, I was thoroughly impressed to see the Jets faithful at Radio City Music Hall applaud the pick of D'Brickashaw Ferguson at #4. I've got to give the Jets fans credit – they knew that a flashy QB wasn't nearly as important to their team as getting some semblance of protection for the QBs that they already have. New Yorkers might be loud and insufferable, but they have a pretty high collective sports IQ.

4) Leinart Comes Tumbling Down – Speaking of Matt Leinart, after the Titans and Jets passed him up, pretty much everyone knew that he would be dropping to at least the #10 spot since all of the teams in between had more pressing needs than quarterback. This goes to show you that if you are coming off a national championship in any sport and are projected to the #1 pick in the draft right afterwards, you've got to turn pro immediately for your own sake. Leinart was a complete lock to be the #1 pick last year if he had come out then but has now given up millions of dollars and didn't even win another national championship in the process. Apparently, basketball counterpart Joakim Noah hasn't learned anything from the Leinart experience.

5) Packers Scary Again – The proverbial "grass is always greener" line applies here, as uber-Packer fan Minneapolis Red Sox has bemoaned the Green Bay draft. From my perspective as a Bears fan, the Packers are back on the radar because they now have a defense again (which is more important for 2006 than Brett Favre returning). The combination of signing Charles Woodson and then drafting A.J. Hawk is going to give Green Bay two legitimate playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. (By the way, was it just me or did half of Ohio State's starting lineup on both offense and defense get drafted this past weekend? A lot of people believe that the Buckeyes will be the #1 college team this fall, yet it looks like they're going to have to replace a ridiculous number of people. Troy Smith better continue improving at the same rapid pace as he did last season if they're going to come close to meeting those expectations. Otherwise, I'm shorting OSU this year.) I don't buy Minneapolis Red Sox's thought that A.J. Hawk is the reincarnation of Brian Bosworth – Hawk, rather than being an underachieving showboating pompous ass, is one of the hardest-working players you'll ever see. Sure, the Packers are still going to need to develop a pass rush at some point (and I'm not in a rush to see that happen), but this is a great start.

All in all, it was another fun NFL Draft. I just hope that I'm wrong about the Bears.

Land-o-Links – 5/1/2006

NFL Draft thoughts coming later today and some NBA Playoff talk is on the board for tomorrow. Until then, here are today's links:

1) ABC Gives Fans a "Lost Experience" – I'm a big "Lost" fan, so this sounds like a great idea. We'll see how this plays out over the summer.

2) Atlantic City May Lose in New Monopoly – Hasbro is putting out a "Here and Now" edition of Monopoly that dedicates a spot on the board for 22 different American cities, but Atlantic City was not included. Not surprisingly, Atlantic City boosters aren't exactly happy about diluting their most famous claim to fame outside of Donald Trump's bankrupt casinos (a "classic edition" of Monopoly with the original board will still be produced). If you've never been to Atlantic City, just picture Joliet with bigger casinos, trashier ghettos, and a lot of seagulls and water taffy shops. As a result, I'm not surprised that Hasbro wanted to upgrade their board game's image. However, I do give some credence to their gripe after finding out that Cleveland, out of all places, is getting a spot on the board.

The other part of this story is that everyone gets to vote on which famous site gets to represent each city on Monopoly.com for the next couple of weeks. Chicago actually will get two spots on the board – one is a regular spot and the other will be O'Hare since airports will be replacing the railroads (JFK, LAX, and Atlanta are the other air hubs being included). The 3 choices for Chicago are Wrigley Field (which is winning by a landslide right now), Michigan Avenue, and Navy Pier. Now, even this Sox fan can understand Wrigley's inclusion as choice, but why on Earth is Navy Pier on this list over obvious sites such as the Sears Tower, Millennium Park, and Buckingham Fountain? Anyway, the top vote-getter out of all of the sites in the country will receive the coveted Boardwalk space.

3) Snoop Dogg Arrested in London Airport – My wife and I actually had to sleep overnight in Heathrow when our flight back home from London was stuck in New York as a result of the 2003 blackout. Needless to say, it would have been a lot more fun experience if I was able to hit the duty free store with Snoop.

And finally…

4) 50 Cent Joins Campaign to Prevent Childhood Obesity – Note that 50 Cent sells grape drink, NOT grape juice. I want that purple stuff!